For the past decade, social media has been on a constant rise. Since the early days of MySpace and Facebook, consumers across the world have begun to embrace digital opportunities of engaging with both their peers and companies.
But have we reached a saturation point? Has social media peaked, as consumers begin to tire of increased brand dominance on Facebook, Twitter and other networks? And if it has, what's next for your business in marketing its brand digitally? Join us in finding the answer to these questions.
Has Social Media Peaked?
Studies earlier this year began to show a worrying trend. People are spending less time on social media, particularly on large networks like Facebook. Growth has slowed for a few years now, but 2016 marked the first year that research actually showed a decline.
That inevitably brings up an important question: have we reached, and are we past the peak of social media? We don't have a definitive answer, of course. But evidence increasingly points to the fact that slower growth, and even declines of the medium are in our future
Social media, for the time being, is still an effective way of reaching potential and existing customers through a channel where they're willing to engage and spend their time. But if recent consumer behaviour trends are any indication, that effectiveness may slowly begin to decrease in the near future.
Why Are Consumers Looking Elsewhere?
How come consumers are becoming less excited about social media? It may just be our fault. Not Pixel Fish, of course, but marketers and brands in general. Excited by a new medium that offers unparalleled targeting opportunities and a direct line to potential customers, brands have flooded social networks with promotional posts for years.
Not surprisingly, Facebook regularly updates its news feed algorithm to make brand content less prominent. That tends to prompt outrage by many marketers, but is actually an attempt by the network to keep user satisfaction high and users active.
Too often, branded content devolves into click bait, posts designed to shock and generate clicks or shares at all costs. Consumers hate this tactic, but continue to fall for it. It's no surprise, then, that they're beginning to look elsewhere for their digital and content needs.
In addition, digital opportunities for intimate, one on one communications are increasing. Snapchat, for example, is technically a social media network, but most often used for messages between individual users. Not surprisingly, it is now the most popular social media network among teenagers.
What Does That Mean For Your Digital Marketing?
For the immediate term, reaching social media's peak means little. As mentioned above, marketing on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks still matters in helping your brand increase awareness and conversions. But it does mean you should think about adjusting your strategy.
Rather than relying on promotional content, which is a core reason why consumers are beginning to gravitate away from social media, focus on building a community. It will be difficult to prove ROI with a more qualitative strategy, but it will help in building a loyal following on your network(s) of choice that can ensure your social effectiveness in coming years.
In addition, the above consumer trends also point toward an increased need for website optimisation, particularly as it relates to search engines. Consumers are tiring of being marketed to; instead, they will specifically seek out content that they're willing to read and engage with. When they type related terms into Google or Bing, your website should be among the first that appears.
Are you looking for ways to maintain and increase the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts, even if social media has peaked? If so, we'd love to have a chat. Contact us to learn more about building a digital marketing and website optimisation strategy optimised for both the present and the future.